COVID-19: Who pays for the cost of testing and treatment?

With 8 cases so far of the coronavirus confirmed in the country as of Wednesday, March 18, a section of the public might be curious about their readiness to shoulder costs related to the testing and treatment of COVID19.

This could lead some to hesitate to seek testing services as well as treatment even when they show symptoms.

 

Self-medication through over the counter medication and suppression of ailments is common in Rwanda like most African countries.

 

However, the government has allayed fears of the general public urging them not to hesitate to reach out to authorities if they bear the symptoms of the ailment; high fever, cough, and difficulties in breathing.

 

Dr. Jose Nyamusore, the Head of Epidemic Surveillance Department, said that this being an emergency and an outbreak, members of the public need not be concerned about their financial status or status of their health insurance, the costs of testing and treatment will be shouldered by the government.

“What comes first is not health insurance, we save lives, and this is our mission. The government takes care of everything, so far,” he said.

The government also avails ambulances for transport to save lives and reduce the risk of further transmission that would arise in the event the patient used public transport.

“There are ambulances for transport. This is an emergency, this is an outbreak. This is what we do in all outbreaks by the way because we need to save lives. You just come and we treat. There is an emergency management basket that is always there,” he said.

Though there is no known cure for the virus with medical researchers and scientists currently conducting tests for the treatment and vaccine, initial reports indicate that countries across the world have been treating symptoms until patients get relief.

The World Health Organization also on Tuesday this week called on people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms to avoid taking ibuprofen (a popular pain and fever relief medication across the world including Rwanda) after some countries noted that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen the effects of the virus.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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